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Herpetic Whitlow


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Hi again guys, I know I've been posting a lot of questions, but I'm new!

 

I have a very bad happen of picking at hangnails to the point where they are open cuts. Of course, I was just recently diagnosed this week, so I wasn't aware I even had herpes or I would have been more careful about hygiene and my hangnails. However, I am almost positive I developed herpetic whitlow in my right index finger.

 

A couple questions:

1. My prescribed my Valtrex on Tuesday (two pills, twice a day), which I finished Friday morning. There are two refills listed. Should I fill another prescription for my finger? Should I go to urgent care tomorrow morning?

 

2. I was wondering about experiences with herpetic whitlow. It's painful at the point of the outbreak (kind of near my nail), but there is also some pain at the base of my finger and another tender area at the base of my hand (kind of like a bruise), is this symptomatic of herpetic whitlow?

 

Thank you for the feedback.

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blackbird...

 

I can't tell you for sure about this one (I'm just learning about Herpatic Witlow as I don't have it myself) but I wouldn't panic just yet. If you were diagnosed this week by IGG then odds are you've had this awhile ... which makes it harder to transfer to other areas of the body.

 

I would put some triple antibiotic on the area and band-aid it so you cant pick it and see if that helps - at this time of year these things often get more aggravated because of the dry air and I find that anything like that (I used to get skin cracks) seems to get borderline infected because of that.

 

They won't do anything at Urgent Care unless you have a blister there (in which case, go in so they can swab it to get the definite diagnosis).... if the above treatment doesn't work in a few days, then try the acyclovir. If that clears is right up, they you may be correct. BUT, don't panic yet. Its easy to think you are breaking out all over when you first get Herpes....

 

(((HUGS)))

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Hi blackbird,

 

No need to panic :) I was recently diagnosed too, and also had a small blister on the side of my finger for a few days. These could be little blisters caused by handling the primary site of your herpes outbreaks, but they typically aren't anything to worry about. As WCSDancer said, herpes doesn't like to set up shop in areas of the body that the virus is not evolved to take up residence in (which are primarily the genitals or the mouth). Although blisters can appear on hands (more commonly in health professionals who may be exposed to a lot of different herpes infections, or people with herpes who have somewhat weakened immune systems for whatever reason), these usually will not reoccur because the virus is probably causing local irritation of the skin, and won't infect the sensory nerves supplying the area. Of course very rarely herpes can reoccur in the hands, but in general the level of shedding and incidence of outbreaks is significantly lower than that of herpes in mucosal regions of the body. Your hands are comparatively very dry.

 

I totally agree with what WCSDancer suggested - which is covering the affected areas of your hands and keeping them clean, especially if you like to pick at them unconsciously - and additionally, be sure to wash your hands afterwards if you feel the need to touch an active outbreak elsewhere on your body (or use a glove - or just don't mess with your sores :/ I know this is hard and I am the same way about wanting to investigate, but a blister is a blister is a blister and poking it won't help!). This is especially true if you often have open hangnails. Although herpes whitlow is much less likely to reoccur and wouldn't be appreciably contagious especially if there aren't blisters, you don't want to expose any points of entry such as broken skin on your fingers.

 

If the blisters are really disruptive and worrisome to you, you could get them cultured. Your physician would "unroof", ie pop the blisters and take a culture swab just as WCSDancer said. If you are on suppressive Valtrex that should be enough to get the hand blisters under control. Otherwise you can get a refill and take the recommended dose (probably half of what you've been taking or less) to take care of it - you wouldn't necessarily have to be seen again.

 

Hope this helps!

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  • 1 year later...
Hi again guys, I know I've been posting a lot of questions, but I'm new!

 

I have a very bad happen of picking at hangnails to the point where they are open cuts. Of course, I was just recently diagnosed this week, so I wasn't aware I even had herpes or I would have been more careful about hygiene and my hangnails. However, I am almost positive I developed herpetic whitlow in my right index finger.

 

A couple questions:

1. My prescribed my Valtrex on Tuesday (two pills, twice a day), which I finished Friday morning. There are two refills listed. Should I fill another prescription for my finger? Should I go to urgent care tomorrow morning?

 

2. I was wondering about experiences with herpetic whitlow. It's painful at the point of the outbreak (kind of near my nail), but there is also some pain at the base of my finger and another tender area at the base of my hand (kind of like a bruise), is this symptomatic of herpetic whitlow?

 

Thank you for the feedback.

 

Did your whitlow reoccur? How do you keep from spreading it to others? Do you keep it covered even when there is no blister? Is the skin on your hands always shedding since it is infected?

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ok, im going to share my "whitlow" exp here. @ Christmas my right pinkie finger developed some odd skin issue on the knuckle. of course my first thought was herpes. it healed up but about 10 days later I used a handiwipe and it stung like a bear and the finger looked odd, again it responded to a bandaid and antibiotic cream. maybe 10 days later it happened again! of course my H brain is on overload and its herepes, ive got herpes on my hand, its right where when I masterbate my hand rubs my testicles and ive had a bump there, omygodivegotherpesonmyfinger!!!!! then rational brain got around to putting the beatdown on H brain and remembered, oh yea, you scrapped the hell out of your finger on the concrete floor of this lanai while doing demo. said lanai had a litterbox on it. it also had a very aged dog hanging around. the wood was rotten and had various live and dead bugs in it. I got an infection that lingered is what happened. due to the filth on this lanai and a nasty scrape. rational brain wins. now, if it comes back in a few weeks I will worry as the skin looks 100% normal now. however if it is I will do exactly the same thing I did when I had an infected scrape, a bandaid and some sort of cream.

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I think this is what @seeker is trying to say but I wanted to throw this out there for the potential whitlow sufferers...... if you have hsv1 and/or hsv2 in other locations I would recommend getting the sores on your hand swabbed to determine if it is herpes at all. The other tests only tell you that you have herpes, not where it is!

 

I am noticing on the forum that there can be a bit of herpes paranoia at play. Sometimes you have other skin conditions and sores on other parts of your body that aren't Herpes! Don't assume you have herpes, get the sore swabbed and find out for sure before going down the road of assumptions.

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"Herpes Paranoia" ... EXACTLY @fitgirl!

 

I call it "The Tick Effect"

 

If you have ever lived where there are ticks/bloodsucking bugs the inhabit your pets or that can get on you when you go for a walk or whatever, all you have to do is fine ONE friggin tick on you and suddenly your skin is CONSTANTLY crawling and you are CONVINCED you have ticks crawling EVERYWHERE for hours afterwards (often you have to go do something to completely occupy your mind to get it to go away.

 

Now, because herpes doesn't go away, it will keep entering our mind and setting off "The Tick Effect" so that you will suddenly start thinking that every bump, itch, pimple, rash, tingle, twitch, whatever is Herpes ... even though you very likely had ALL those things before and ignored them. I'm not saying that everyone here is a hypochondriac and I DO know that many of your symptoms ARE herpes.

 

One thing I can tell you as a Massage Therapist ... what you put your attention on, multiplies.... the more you pay attention to every little thing happening in your body, the more you will notice every little sensation. Now, when you are in a mentally healthy state, this can be a great pracice of self awareness.... but when you are in a place of anxiety and fear, it WILL make things worse. Learning the balance of "relaxed, concious awareness" is a beautiful thing... because you can notice a feeling and then allow yourself to go with it, observe it, and then decide if this is something your body is trying to tell you (like, "You need rest", "you need water", "you need to change your diet"), or if it's just a passing sensation, or it it's an "I need to see a Doctor" thing. 99% of the sensations will be one of the first 2 choices. ;)

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I wont argue with fitgirl, she is a mod and can do things to my account plus if she is that fit she could probably take me ( not that id put up much of a fight). I was trying to say, try not to think of everything in herpes terms. lord knows ive done it myself. with "stuff" outside the norm I would err on the side of reason. obviously if its really bad or odd then a splint and pill man is in order. im wondering tho, how do you go about getting the pusher with a degree to do a swab for herpes in non usual areas? seems hard enough to get them to swab in the usual territory from some peoples stories.

 

@ dancer, the other good one is lice. im betting you just scratched your head just from reading the word, lol.

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. im wondering tho, how do you go about getting the pusher with a degree to do a swab for herpes in non usual areas? seems hard enough to get them to swab in the usual territory from some peoples stories.

 

@ dancer, the other good one is lice. im betting you just scratched your head just from reading the word, lol.

 

AAAARGHHH! Cooties!!! LOL ...

 

How do you get them to swab. Refuse to leave the office until they do it. I once had a Dr try to not run a Lyme test on me because I didn't have a Bullseye nor had I found a tick on me but I had a sudden pain in a knuckle on my left hand for non-specific origin and I suspected Lyme because I worked in gardens for a living so it's like being in the front line for Lyme.... I fianlly whipped my insurance card out, put my arm out and said "Humor me ..." ... I got a sheepish call back a few days later that the IgM showed I was very recently exposed to Lyme and the antibiotics cleared it up in a few days ;)

 

Sometimes you just plain have to put your foot down and advocate for yourself :/

 

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